Belfast conference celebrates third decade of association


Leadership and management were key themes as the Language Schools Association hosted an annual hybrid conference for the first time in its history, with in-person attendees at the famous Europa Hotel in Belfast.

The conference took the time to mark the 30e anniversary, with a special panel hosted by former President Ludka Kotarska, who is currently managing her accreditation.

“We started in 1991 – when we got to 1998, there were still only if I remember correctly, 23 members,” said Frank Heyworth, one of the founding members of Eaquals. “Four years later, we were over 100.”

Justin Quinn, who served as president from 2016 until the spring of this year, said he “really wanted to bring new people and new energy to the board, and even bring different languages ​​to the board.”

“We need more languages, we need more people with higher education,” Quinn added.

Another former president, Richard Rossner, also commented on the need to diversify the organization’s portfolio.

“It is possible that Eaquals will be even more diverse in terms of partnerships and projects in the future.

Thom Kiddle, the current president of the organization, also spoke of the past three decades: “The reason we’re here after 30 years from 1991 was the foundation of strong principles and a vision we all have. seen. “

A special gala dinner was also held at the Titanic Museum. In addition to celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary, members gathered to remember Tim Goodier, member of the Eaquals Development Group and Head of Academic Development at Eurocentres, sadly passed away in March 2020.

While welcoming to the conference, Kiddle announced that the opening plenary for upcoming conferences will be named in Goodier’s honor.

“He worked as an inspector, as a board member, and he made such a contribution to our industry and was a wonderful, caring person,” Kiddle added.

The opening plenary session was given by Joanne Murphy, Lecturer and Lecturer in Leadership and Organizational Change at Queen’s Management School.

“Leadership and change are intertwined,” Murphy said during his speech, asking delegates to reflect on their own leadership within their institutions.

“Have you ever thought about what your organization means, what your leadership means and how you can use it to help you when the going gets tough? “

“Leadership and change are closely linked”

The sessions were in full swing over two days, with an introductory session for potential members, focusing on language learning and another lecture by Murphy’s on resilience.

David Coarsey of Guided E-Learning gave a talk on the benefits and practicalities of moving to e-learning in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“E-learning is a tool that delivers the best attributes to your schools, what you market – not e-learning itself,” he told delegates.

“It has the full capacity to compile your data, then you can view it and use it to improve and maintain consistency.”

Other highlights included a talk by Rossner on finding common ground between subject and language teachers and a session on plurilingual teaching qualifications by Ben Beaumont from Trinity College London.

“We have also launched an online teaching course which will help our centers to provide more online if needed,” he said. The news of the PIE.

“Online learning is a tool that delivers the best attributes of your school, it’s what you market – not online learning itself”

“Our online systems have been quite essential, especially in Manchester who reported to me that they have students in their classes from Nigeria, Russia, Brazil, the US and China, and this is the same course, ”he added.

There was also a session on Updates to Essential Eaquals Frameworks, which addressed the ongoing topic of e-learning, as Executive Director Lou McLaughlin told The PIE.

“With the advent of e-learning, it’s a whole different set of skills to handle managing people in this way, so it’s about finding a new way to do it,” McLaughlin told About the new management framework of the organization.

The pandemic, McLaughlin said, was not a driver of the organization’s new executive orientation towards a managerial perspective.

“I think it’s been really poignant anyway, because managers need something to be able to figure out where they need to go and really identify their training, whether it’s before Covid or now, especially with e-learning. . “

Peter Brown, the organization’s founding president, also delivered a speech via Zoom at the hybrid event.

“I think one of the issues with birthdays in general, maybe big ones like 25, 30, 50, it’s inevitably an invitation to look back, and it’s actually not my style – it’s ‘was always looking to the future,’ Brown told delegates.

He ended his message to the public online and in person with an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go in a group.

“And I think that’s a great message for people – I think we want to go far and of course we’re a group and that’s the best message I can give you on our 30th anniversary. anniversary, ”he added.

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